of biological diversity in urban areas. Species especially prone to extinction include those high on trophic pyramids, widespread species with low vagility (i.e., with poor dispersal ability), endemic and migratory species, and species with colonial nesting habits (Terbough, 1974). Many such species inhabit urban areas during all or major portions of their lives and can act as umbrellas of sorts, often conferring protection to great numbers of species in the same habitats.
The greatest erosion of extinction-prone species has usually occurred in habitat remnants that survive in those urban areas with the longest histories of settlement. Hence prescriptions for conserving remaining biological diversity differ substantially among urban areas. For example, forest patches support many more bird species than do grassland patches of similar size. All else being equal, therefore, protection of the total remaining biological diversity of oak woodlands surrounding San Francisco will demand more and larger preserves than protection of similar habitats to achieve a similar goal near less biologically diverse Washington D.C. In addition, the sizes of preserves necessary to protect biological diversity within an urban area will vary because the diversity itself varies greatly among different natural communities. Oak woodland preserves near San Francisco are likely to require more area to protect their complement of biological diversity than will native grassland preserves in the same geographic area.
In the urban United States, three groups must interact to assist the Endangered Species Act in protecting biological diversity. Field biologists must aid in the identification and survey of potential umbrella species. Conservation organizations must use that information and citizen petitions to get appropriate umbrella species protected via the endangered list. In response, the Office of Endangered Species will have to reassess listing priorities.
The San Francisco Bay Area exemplifies the challenge of preserving urban biological diversity. Without the grizzly bear, tule elk, and even the Xerces blue butterfly, San Francisco might be viewed as biologically impoverished in a sense, but the urban Bay Area remains an exceptionally rich natural region in the biologically richest state in the union. The ecological communities within a 25-kilometer radius of Berkeley include redwood, Douglas fir, and digger pine forests as well as coastal sage and inland chaparral, annual grasslands, dunes, riparian corridors, freshwater lakes, bay marshlands, and even pelagic marine communities and offshore seabird rookeries, an extraordinary array of ecological communities supporting immense biological diversity. The conservation challenge is great, especially in the shadow of a population growing at more than 3% per year; moreover, that shadow is not cast evenly. Less than 15% of San Francisco Bay marshlands remain, but much inland chaparral remains untouched.
Can this urban biological diversity be protected? In this country, the answer is a qualified yes. In many other countries the outlook is not that sanguine. In Austria, prohibitions against the collection of wildlife and plants are strictly enforced, while the conversion of natural habitats to cultivation is effectively subsidized by the government. In the Federal Republic of Germany, as the Black Forest dies from acidification, powerful lobbies thwart the implementation of speed limits on the autobahns; consequently high levels of pollution continue to prevail. Overpopu-